Monday, October 29, 2007

Does doing a bad thing make you a bad person?

Last night I was told that a friend's friend has been involved in a shooting. He had been the one to shoot the gun and it resulted in the death of another guy. Having first heard this story from my friend and then hearing it on the news, there was a vast difference in the way it was told.

The news plays up the angle that this boy was the ultimate victim. He was on his way from leaving the party, when he stopped to help a friend who had gotten into a fight and the next thing he knows he is shot in the chest and dead. The victim is made to be this angel of a boy, not the same boy who was at a party, most likely drinking underage. Because their son, grandson, friend neighbor would never do anything wrong, and was so helpful and loving.

Now this is not to say that I don't think that the victim was a good person and I am sure he was a wonderful help to his grandmother, but can also say with a lot of certainty that he wasn't perfect. No one is. Yes, in a way this was a senseless crime. It is also a very unfortunate event that should never have to happen to anyone. But to glorify the dead does nothing but paint a false picture of the person that is gone. Just once, I would like someone to say, "yeah they were great person, but man they had a tendency to interrupt people." Or something where at least it shows that a person died and not a deity.

But what about the shooter, does anyone wonder what brought him to this point that he felt he needed to kill someone? That he was so angry that he had time to contemplate the act before committing it? From what I understand, this was not a bad guy. But now because he killed someone does that automatically make him a terrible human being? Do all his good qualities and deeds that he did before the shooting all of a sudden get discounted? And where were his friends when this was happening? Were they there telling him not to shoot or were they silent and just watched it unfold before their eyes?

But on a separate note, I firmly believe that you don't buy a gun unless you have the intentions of using it. I think that people should have the right to bear arms, not in a crazy Charlton Heston way, but in a you should have a permit and be responsible way. However, how responsible can you be when you bring a gun to a party when you know that you are going to be drinking?

Though I suppose a lot of these questions could be answered if the media hadn't created such a one-sided story. It is times like these that make me so much more critical of reporters and what goes through their mind when writing. You aren't creating a PR piece about the victim, it is a news story. At the very least there is a formula to it and it involves hearing all sides of the story. It all makes me wish that I was writing and reporting again, so that I at least would know that I was making a difference and trying to change things.

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